Our Stories Volume 1 by Joe Locke

I grew up at Bethel United Methodist Church, and I would like to share with you why I have stayed. Bethel is like my family. We have good times and a few not so good. We love each other and we support each other through the good and the bad.

My Grandmother was honored for her work serving as president with the United Methodist Women many years ago. I realized that my family has a legacy here. But it first felt like family when I got out of college and we began our Sunday School Class…the beginning of our small group experience.

I have always appreciated the way that we support each other in hard times.Visits when you are in the hospital or at home recovering are the most memorable, especially when it involves food!

I began learning about generosity as a child at Bethel. I remember the little church banks that we used to help save money for the church. Over time I realized that my parents gave even when they had little to share. Mom gave a lot of her time to the church and she never lost faith in the church, even though she was fired 3 different times as children’s choir leader! My in-laws were also very faithful, as were my grandparents. So, I had great examples of generosity over many years. Those examples included giving of your resources: Gifts (your talent), Time (your investment in the future), Prayer (time with God for direction and support of others) and Money (to invest in the ministry of the church).

We are called to serve. We are the church, so without us, there is no service. Likewise, without funding, the church would not be able to sponsor the many different ministries that we (our entire congregation) enjoy. This includes both within our church, the missions that we support here in town and abroad.

My hope in the church is that we follow the example of Christ in all that we do. This means that we have faith, hope and love – but the greatest of these is love. Love for each other love for all of our ministries, and love to welcome all to share in the transforming power of Christ.